2 Very Good Reasons to Head West This Winter

“Snow birds” flock to Florida each winter to escape the cold weather of their northern homes. But this winter, wine lovers can head to the other coast and warm up while attending one or two wine festivals.

From January 31 through February 2, the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers will present its annual Zinfandel Festival in San Francisco. The three-day celebration of Zin features four events:

  • Epicuria Food & Zin Pairings—“Embark on a gourmet adventure as you explore the versatile flavors of Zinfandel at ZAP’s informal dine-around event,” the ZAP website says. “You have the opportunity to sample sophisticated and whimsical culinary creations from master chefs, perfectly paired with 50 top Zinfandel wines. Savor tantalizing delicacies from the ‘ZinKitchen’ celebrity chefs while learning their professional techniques. Immerse yourself in the Zinfandel culture as you mingle with winemakers and culinary experts who feed your epicuriosity!”
  • Flights—“Designed for the enthusiast with a passion for the legendary, this exclusive seminar-style tasting ignites your imagination for the varietal as you delve into the history, culture and science behind the many flavors of Zinfandel. ‘Flights’ offers unique insight into the Zinfandel varietal and allows you to experience the true character of the wines through the eyes of experts as you revel in a sensory experience like no other.”
  • Winemakers Dinner—“The fabulous forties reign as you venture to the exotic at our Casablanca-themed VIP benefit. Here’s looking at… our premier winemaker hosts as they share the intrigue and romance behind their craft at this elegant reception and dinner, while pouring their specially chosen private selections of Zinfandel. Journey back through time as you learn about the origins of America’s Heritage Wine and the modern-day practices that make Zinfandel so legendary. A live and silent auction features rare and one-of-a-kind lifestyle lots, with proceeds benefiting ZAP programming, education and Heritage Vineyard Projects.”
  • Grand Tasting—“Enjoy the thrill of creating your own Zinfari at ZAP’s Grand Tasting! Make the quest for your personal Zinfandel flavor destination as you journey through the varietal’s unique growing regions to experience the diversity of America’s Heritage Grape. This expedition takes you through the world’s largest Zinfandel tasting where you can enjoy hundreds of barrel samples, new releases and premier Zinfandel wines. The return of the ‘ZinKitchen’ will be a highlight.”

Complete information on ZAP’s big annual event is available here.

The following weekend, the 8th annual International Alsace Varietals Festival will be held a little farther north, in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley.

As is the case with the ZAP event, there are separately ticketed events for wines lovers to enjoy. Here’s a summary from the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association website….

  • Educational Session—“Come listen to and interact with winemakers from around the globe as they discuss winemaking and grape growing specifically for Alsace varietals. A light breakfast will be served. At 12 p.m., prior to the Grand Tasting, Evan Goldstein, MS, will create an educational and entertaining food/wine demonstration to highlight why so many foods pair beautifully with the wine. Evan will discuss food and wine pairing tips, and the audience will sample creations during the Grand Tasting. It’s a great way to learn more about the versatility of Alsace-style whites.”
  • Grand Tasting—“Meet the winemakers and taste more than 100 Alsace-style white wines from around the world, including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat. During the Grand Tasting, you will enjoy foods perfectly suited for aromatic whites and savor fresh oysters, tart flambee and more.”
  • Winemakers Dinner—“Enjoy a special menu created by renowned chef and author John Ash. Dinner will feature six winemakers, and you will have the opportunity to hear from Chef Ash about why he chose each wine/food pairing presented. Learn more about the wines from the winemakers themselves in the elegant private dining room at Scharffenberger Cellars.”

Full information on the International Alsace Varietals Festival is available here.

Need an excuse to escape the frigid winter weather that’s just around the corner? You now have two.

Posted in Wine Buzz
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